San Leandro teen accused of robbing blind woman of cellphone

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A San Leandro teen is accused of robbing a blind woman of her cellphone Wednesday morning. 

According to the San Leandro Police Department, around 9:30 a.m. the 38-year-old victim was walking from the San Leandro BART station to an address on Haas Avenue for a meeting. 

The woman told officers that she was walking on Davis Street near Clarke Street with the assistance of her white cane, which is used to help those who are blind or visually impaired scan their surroundings. 

The cane also alerts motorists and passerby that a pedestrian is blind and to exercise special caution. 

As the victim was walking on the sidewalk, scanning her path, she said she felt her cane contact what she thought was another person. 

Police say before the victim could react, she felt someone attempting to grab her iPhone out of her hand. 

She told investigators that she tried to fight back by resisting and holding onto her phone. 

The victim says that during the struggle she lost her balance and fell to the ground. 

The suspect continued to pull on her cell phone until it slipped out of its case and was taken from her grip. 

The victim’s screams drew the attention of witnesses in the area. 

One witness who was on a bike called 911 to report the incident. The bicyclist followed the suspect as he ran into the neighborhood and told police the direction he was running in. 

A second witness saw the robbery happen from his apartment balcony and called the police. 

Once officers arrived in the area and with the assistance of witnesses, they located the suspect hiding between two parked cars several blocks away. 

As officers and detectives attempted to take the suspect into custody, he began to run and resist arrest. 

The suspect also attempted to discard some of the evidence from the crime.

An AC Transit bus driver who was passing on Davis Street observed the commotion on the sidewalk and saw the victim fall to the ground. 

The bus driver stopped and assisted the victim by guiding her onto his bus, taking her back to the San Leandro Bart station where she was able to get help from a station attendant.

The suspect, 18 yr-old San Leandro High School student Jujuan Despanie was taken into police custody and found to be in possession of the victim’s cell phone at the time of his arrest.

Authorities say typically the victim is required to identify the suspect, but due to the fact the woman is completely blind, she was unable to identify her robber. 

Both witnesses were contacted and both positively identified Despanie as the suspect in the case.

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